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10 November 2023
At Beeston Rise Care Home, a living legend resides. Meet Norman Shepherd, a distinguished graduate of St. Athen in 1944, where he earned the esteemed title of sergeant flight engineer. Now, at the age of 97, he graces us with the tales of his remarkable past.
The year was 1944, and a young Flight Sergeant Norman Shepherd, then just 20 years old, found himself at the forefront of an extraordinary mission. His squadron received orders to embark on a journey that would forever etch his name in the annals of heroism. The task: to fly children, survivors of the notorious Nazi death camps, to safety.
In response to the harrowing aftermath of war, the British government had extended a lifeline to 1,000 children. Yet, only 732 could be located. Undeterred by the challenge, Mr. Shepherd, assumed a pivotal role in flying 300 children from Prague to the comforting shores of Windermere aboard his RAF Stirling bomber.
Reflecting on that poignant journey, Mr. Shepherd recalls the initial tears that welled in the eyes of those resilient children. However, as the flight progressed, their sobs transformed into settled calmness, and in that moment, Mr. Shepherd, a beacon of compassion, distributed chocolate to uplift their spirits.
Now a cherished resident of Beeston Rise Care Home in Nottingham, Mr. Shepherd exudes a quiet humility about the significant role he played in providing these children with a chance at a new life. As we gather to honor Remembrance Day, we pay tribute to his bravery and selflessness, a living testament to the indomitable spirit that prevailed during those tumultuous times. In the presence of such valor, we are truly honored to share our days with Norman Shepherd, a living bridge to history, and to stand in awe of the good he has done.